American Magic returns to the water

American Magic is back on the water. Photo: Getty Images
American Magic is back on the water. Photo: Getty Images
There has been relief for American Magic after finally getting back on the water.

The America's Cup boat, helmed by Kiwi Dean Barker, has been repaired after sustaining major damage in a dramatic capsize during the first weekend of Prada Cup racing.

Engineers and crew have worked tirelessly since capsizing and damaging their vessel just under two weeks ago, putting in long days to ensure they would be back on the water for the semifinal series against Luna Rossa, which starts tomorrow.

And the team's wasted little time in getting it back on the water.

"It's in a fully functional form at the moment." American Magic flight controller Andrew Campbell told NZME on Wednesday night. "We're just going to tune the boat in the next day or two and see if we can get racing on Friday at full pace."

Despite their eagerness, the American syndicate had to wait more than two hours to get on their foils, with as little as three knots of wind out on the Hauraki Gulf.

When they eventually did, Patriot was put to the test by doing race manoeuvres on course C, off North Head, staying out until after 7pm.

While Campbell said yesterday was a big success, they still have a lot of work to do before racing.

"We're going to take it one day at a time. That's all we can do at this point. We've got a tuning left to do and then we'll get into the racing.

"It's a huge hurdle we've got over to get the boat back on the water, that's the first step obviously, and we're just going to gain more and confidence in the systems as they're running right. We know the boat's ready to go once we get enough breeze to get it going, so we have total confidence the boat's going to be fast enough, it's just a matter of making sure the systems are running up to speed."

Campbell sees yesterday and today as 'huge shakedowns' ahead of what is now a win-or-go-home scenario.

"[We have] to make sure every button is working, the pumps are all running the way we need, we've got an FCS [foil cant system] out of boat one, so we need to fine-tune a lot of that to make sure we're up and running the way we expect it to."

The boat emerged from the sheds on Wednesday featuring a sticker made to look like two band-aids over a hole that was repaired, with one a New Zealand flag with the words "Thank you."

"It's an honest reflection of what we've received in terms of help from our comrades around the base here and the viaduct and the entire yachting community here in New Zealand, they've got behind us," Campbell explained.

"Coming in this afternoon, everyone was cheering us on, it's a good feeling, so we're really excited."

While delighted with the progress and development, Campbell admits it's almost hard to believe.

"These guys have put in such a massive effort the last 10 days or so. All of us know what they're capable of – the men and women we have in the shed – but you don't ever expect them to do the magic that they've done."

Magic, excuse the pun, indeed.

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